Democratic House impeachment managers will unveil “never-seen-before” video of the deadly Capitol riot during their opening arguments Wednesday as part of the case they’re building against former President Donald Trump, senior aides said.
The Capitol security footage “will provide new insight into both the extreme violence that everyone saw, the risk and the threat that it could have led to further violence and death to many but for the brave actions of the officers and shows really the extent of what Donald Trump unleashed on our Capitol,” the aides to the impeachment managers told reporters.
“We have the goods,” they said. “Yesterday was our dry constitutional argument day. Today, the actual trial begins. We have the goods, we will be presenting the goods. We will be tying the evidence all together in a compelling case that will make it clear for everyone — Democrats, Republicans, everyone — that Donald Trump committed the most heinous constitutional crime possible.”
The video “shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary and a view of the attack that has never been public before,” the aides added in previewing the team’s approach for the second day of Trump’s second impeachment trial.
The day’s proceedings will kick off Wednesday at noon ET, with the Democratic impeachment managers commencing their opening arguments.
They have 16 hours over two days to make their presentations and then Trump’s attorneys begin their defense with the same amount of time allotted — proceedings that will take the trial into the weekend and likely beyond.
House managers, however, aren’t likely to use the full 16 hours, the senior aides on the impeachment manager team said.
When opening arguments are done, senators will be able to question the two sides for a total of four hours by submitting written questions to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the Senate president pro tempore, who is presiding over trial and who will read them aloud.
Wednesday’s proceedings follow a riveting first day of the trial that started with a chilling 13-minute video montage of the devastating events of the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and ended with a vote declaring that trying a former president is constitutional and allowing it to continue.
That 56-44 vote capped debate that took up much of the first day of arguments from the House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal team. Six Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in the vote to proceed: Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska; Mitt Romney of Utah; Ben Sasse of Nebraska; Susan Collins of Maine; and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
Hours earlier, the proceedings began with a jarring video reel that forced senators to relive some of the most intense moments of Jan. 6, some of which occurred at the very desks at which they were sitting.
The video showed rioters smashing windows and overrunning barriers until they breached the Capitol, hurling expletives at Capitol Police officers and stalking lawmakers in the chamber. Those images were interspersed with scenes of Trump encouraging his supporters while speaking at the rally before the assault on the Capitol and in a video posted to Twitter.
After Tuesday’s emotionally charged arguments and video, the House managers are again expected Wednesday to use videos to weave a narrative of what happened in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The real question, however, will be whether those arguments will shift the views of any of the 44 Republican senators who voted Tuesday that the trial itself is unconstitutional. Unless 11 of those Republicans turn around and vote to convict, Trump will be acquitted. It takes a supermajority — 67 votes — to convict. Anything less leads to acquittal.
Trump’s defense on Tuesday kicked off with a meandering, nearly hourlong speech from attorney Bruce Castor, which failed to address the crux of the House managers’ arguments. Trump is extremely displeased about his legal team’s first showing at the trial, three sources familiar with his thinking said, and he was especially disappointed with Castor.
Trump is the first president to have been impeached twice by the House, and he will be the first former president to be put on trial in the Senate. He was impeached by the House of Representatives on Jan. 13 on an article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the violent riot by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol a week earlier.
Monica Alba and Frank Thorp V contributed.